Ruth the foreigner, still dressed in her grieving widow gowns, is invited to come, not to a distant table in the back corner but invited to come to the table with his own people. She doesn’t get crumbs but is offered the roasted grain and wine – no mean portion but more than enough.
That is what this part of the story is about for me…the ‘come eat’, ‘come drink…all who are hungry, all who are thirsty’….not some …but all.
Ruth is invited to stay …..not go somewhere else but stay ….under the protection and provision of this field and without her knowledge, we get a glimpse of how much provision is available to us who feel unworthy as Ruth would have. We stand in the midst of our own hardship, the heat of the day and hear him beckon..come…
At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” (Ruth 2:14-16 NIV)
Boaz- the owner, provider, the strong one, the future redeemer, releases the farm hands and as they go. He continues to bless her. He uses his authority to ensure she is provided for and looked out for and cared for. That is what JESUS does for me. He sends in his hands and helpers to make sure I am cared for and provided. He ensures she doesn’t just get the left overs but gets fully provided for with the real deal. Nothing has changed in her status except an invitation to come! She has done nothing to deserve his favour. How much like my own story and the greatest of all love stories. Nothing changes in my story except that my redeemer notices me and my condition and invites me to the table and allows me to partake along side his friends. He initiates, he provides, not just bread, but protection and provision for her future and for those she needs to extend grace to. My redeemer provides me with all I need and for all those in my care. I have grace available for anyone I choose to take care of because my redeemer sees the needs and will provide. He not only provides for Ruth but enough for Naomi. He not only provides for me but enough for anyone who needs my grace. There is more than enough.
In Ruth’s words of overwhelming gratitude: ‘such grace , such kindness’. That sense of Jesus’ invitation to the table stirs the same response in me: overwhelming gratitude in the heat of the day. I can eat my fill and the take the grain, the wine and all that it represents, the overflow of abundance back to my own place and there will be enough for those who are relying on me to feed them. How can I resist this invitation to a table and how can I not give thanks? Such grace, such kindness.